Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by Bradford, Jul 17, 2013.
Have any of you found anything effective for treating middle-of-the-night awakenings?
I know the following may work in an opposite way for some, but for me.... I put a DVD on and then end up falling asleep watching it (which I then do usually fast). I do this up to 3 times per night. If I just lay in bed trying to sleep when I cant (and often then getting annoyed about that), I just then dont go to sleep and will still be laying there awake when daylight comes.. so its best for me not to even think about the fact Im awake and cant sleep.
The DVD does wake me up again a short time after I've fallen asleep but at that point I can just turn it off and roll over and go back to sleep.
Depends on how wide awake you are, and what works for you. When I get in that pattern, I keep a strong cup of passiflora tea by my bed, and chug it down as soon as I wake up. If the insomnia is worse and I absolutely have to sleep, I might take some benzo. Sometimes some reading can help make you sleepy again. If you take melatonin, time release instead of regular can help prevent wakenings in the first place.
You might need a med to improve your stage 3/4 sleep if you are frequently waking in the night. A sleep study might help in discovering why you wake up. Not waking up at all is better than figuring out how to get back to sleep.
I may be unique in this, but I fall asleep with an audiobook on (on a timer). If I wake in the night, which is rare now, I reach over and turn the book back on. It's enough to keep me from thinking about being awake , but not enough to keep me awake since I'm used to falling asleep with an audiobook. Music probably works better for most people.
Sometimes sublingual melatonin works for me, sometimes lots of extra magnesium (800 mg) and usually some reading. If there's something big happening the next day, I take some benzo which always works but is dangerous as gives me rebound insomnia if I take more than rarely.
But how to treat your insomnia depends on what's causing it. Any idea what's causing your insomnia?
Is it high cortisol levels at night? High levels of glutamate, sulfate or ammonia? Blood sugar problems? Sex hormone imbalances? Pain? Food issues such as eating processed food (free glutamates = insomnia) or eating late or too much? Poor sleep hygiene? Sleep apnea?
Each of those would have quite different approaches.
I agree with helen1 that you should give some thought to the cause. If it is happening only once per night, it could be your normal sleep pattern. You could get up, have something to eat, and spend a little time on whatever appeals to you before going back to bed. If you search on 'first sleep', I think you will find a previous discussion of the fact that in the past people have slept in two stages, getting up between them.
There can be different reasons for this to happen, and I think Little Bluestem is right, you need to think about it a bit. However here is one simple strategy that sometimes works for me. Get up, have a really hot shower/bath (if you can tolerate it), dry off, then go back to bed. As the body cools off and the skin cools down, it often triggers the sleep reflex.
I just tried nytol (benadryl in the US) a 1/4 of one tablet (adult dose is 2 tablets). I took it 20mins before a half of zopiclone (3.75mg). Previously woke at 3.15am every morning so zop giving me 4 hrs roughly. With the nytol I still woke up at 3.15am but went back to sleep without tossing and turning for 4hrs. Felt a bit groggy when getting up but only for a short time, couple of glasses of water and I'm fine. Don't know whether I will do it every night.
Finding the cause is difficult but worth doing. My doc says maybe blood sugar dropping - I did have a high carb diet, I have reduced the carbs since last week. She suggests a few pieces of chocolate, made with coconut oil/cocoa before bed, (which I'm going to try making as I don't do dairy amongst many other things.(
Food. I reach immediately for a snack. Usually, now, Alpen. Depends on what is the reason for the awakening. If it's a specific event - then food usually helps me and then I can return to bed and will either sleep for a while or decide to get up and start my day.
If I am generally restless and can't maintain sleep then I will change location. Go sit in the lounge. Try and read. Or listen to music or something. Or even sometimes visiting the loo will be enough
Now, though, I have found that perhaps because I am not sleeping during the day, just resting on the sofa in the afternoons and drifting with a film or book, then preparing dinner, eating etc; I don't have trouble getting to sleep. Bed is for nighttime sleeping unless I am feeling particularly crap during the day.
My no-sleep during the day attempts have not unfortunately meant no sleep disturbances at night; but I do find I can sleep for longer. Still waking roughly 2 hours after falling asleep. And then usually once more. But I'm able to get about 5-6 hours I suppose on average now.
I will get runs of bad nights but I no longer stress about them. I have made some big adjustments to my life so getting a decent nights sleep is not such a major concern for me as it was; but I would like some answers and hope the sleep study might help.
No prescribed drugs purposefully for sleep but I do take half a Sominex about an hour before retiring to my bed. It seems to help with the initial drowsiness but can't say more than that.
Night take waking usually due to cortisol rhythm being off. I suffer from this a lot. I am trying to fix it by working on balancing blood sugar levels during the day and keeping them as even as possible. Drop in blood sugar = cortisol surge = adrenaline surge. So if blood sugar dips at any time while you're asleep you're being woken by the adrenaline surge and then struggle to sleep as you're wired!
I learned many years ago to not try to force my self to sleep because it simply doesn't work. I find I have to distract myself for a long time as well as take medications every night. My circadian rhythm hasn't been right for over a decade, I've tried melatonin but it didn't work for me.
The thing that I really hate is people not appreciating the effect it has on my health, and when they start blabbing about anecdotes of how they make do with x hours of sleep but still manage, implying it's a will power thing (it's not like I have a severe underlying illness or anything).
Much experienced over years - suddenly wired and tired awakenings - I've tended to go along with it (over active adrenals ?) and found something to do whilst the endocrine system settles down and sleep returns again.
If you are able to get your body out of bed in the earlier hours of the morning, get up and make yourself a warm drink and have something to eat. I found it a little helpful, but I struggled most times to get out of bed as my body was always so deeply exhausted that it just wanted to stay there and not move. I never really found any help for the high wiredness, but thankfully it has eased some as the years have gone on.
I take mirtazapine and sleep pretty well, usually 4 to 5 hour stints, up to stints on days I do not work.
I did a sleep study and found out I was twitching my feet all night long and it was waking me up several times an hour. Sometimes I would do a big kick and it would wake me up so I couldn't get back to sleep. Magnesium fixed this problem. I have to take quite large amount - 1800mg - just below bowel tolerance. I use magnesium glycinate powder dissolved in water. Mag oxide, while cheap, doesn't absorb well, so is a waste of money. It's best to spread the doses out over the day, with the biggest dose before bed.
If you find that magnesium fixes the problem, you should consider that you may have weak adrenals causing loss of electrolytes. Many of us do a homemade electrolyte drink several times a day to replace them.
My blood magnesium levels came back normal. Is this something that's still ok to try? I recall trying it in the past and it not making a difference. Then the other day I had muscle cramps and took one before bed. I still woke up in the middle of the night, but the following night I had one of the best night of sleep in a while. Could just be coincidence. I was also not hitting snooze for several days in a row and waking up earlier by alarm clock.
generally the sedating antidepressants like doxepin or antihistamine can help lengthen sleep and benzos help initiate sleep but what i have found helpful if i do wake in the middle of the night is tizanadine/zanaflex, which is a muscle relaxer with sedating effects and has a short half like so can help one get back to sleep for a couple more hours if needed. I have also used tryptophan as well as generally the stomache is empty and this amino acid is absorbed quickly and works better when its not competing with other aminos in the gut.
I have this problem too, I have this pattern right now, which its waking up around 5 AM or earlier (depends of the time I fell asleep), then around 7 and finally around 10. So I have two wake ups that shouldnt be there. Its very easy to go back asleep but later in the morning my face and overall feeling tells me how drastically these wakings have devastated the supposed rest I would get from sleeping. It destroys the sleep architecture... I guess what we have learned from this thread its that a sleep study would be possibly useful. I will look into other threads about this
I'm working on exactly this with my new doctor, and I'll let you know what finally works. I did a sleep study, and I kicked all night...but the sleep doctor just wanted to sell me an apnea machine.
I usually go right back to sleep, but I wake 3-4 times every night. I've just upped my magnesium from 400mg to 800mg, and will try Caledonia's idea of going up to bowel tolerance. caledonia, what's the total amount of sodium, potassium, and magnesium you take daily in the various forms?
You can also try a Google Site Search
Separate names with a comma.